There are always consequences...
To the way you train..
Just going to share one of the speedbumps I have encountered with the current dog.
For those of you that are training nuts and get out there regularly this will come as no surprise to you..still its always amusing when you realize you shot yourself in the foot..lol.
I train my dog both for sport and real life. Sometimes that create conflicts down the road.
I trained my dog to heel "pet heeling" mainly through positive punishment (prong and E Collar) in conjunction with + reenforcement (ball). Dog must stay on my left leg, pivot to remain straight, no forging or lagging. Beign out of position = punishment. I did not install an automatic sit as I did not find it important as long as the dog remained on my leg.
I trained Ipo style heeling first with food then with ball minimal to no compulsion. Dog has decent positioning and heels well when motivated.
However, I began to experience an issue with extended focus and expression (dog started looking across my body instead of at my face / shoulder). This obviously looks sloppier and inevitably leads to the dog completely looking away from you at some point.
Mode of address:
-Increase the number of reward instances as well as vary delivery and ask for less duration between rewards
Result: This did offer a slight increase in motivation but after the first two repititions the issue began to crop up again.
-Create better upward focus through maintaining the reward delivery only from the armpit. (At the time I had begun to deliver the ball from different areas)
Result: Again no improvements were noted beyond the first couple of repitions.
-So now we resort to positive punishment. Punish the dog for anything less then full focus on the handlers face. (Here is were I find the bullet hole in my foot) I go to my two favorite tools prong/ecollar. Dog starts slacking in the focus I correct.
Result: Dog began hugging my left leg even tighter, no improvment in the dog actually maintaining focus on my face. If anything we began to lose even more expression..
Lightbulb: I have corrected the dog in the past for coming off my left leg, forging, lagging etc. In these instances getting back into the correct position removed the pressure and gained reward.
Dog is being confused by the application of punishment as he deems herself to be in the correct learned position which she is. (What I am correcting for is the dog not giving me her full focus) she has learned that in the instance of a heel corrections come for being out of position and have no connection to focus.
Now I know that the way I trained the "pet heeling" is causing confusion when it comes to teaching the IPO heel.
So we go back to positive methods and I think about it for a while. I try to get more ball drive because I percieve this to be a motivation issue. More drive = more desire to perform the behavior correctly = better duration and better expression.
While Im dinking around with this I learn that the dog is more motivated to access the ball when it is lying on the ground or when I actually throw it for her.
Clearly positive only methods arent getting me quite were I need to be time to go back to punishment to make my communication clearer and create more duration, better focus and good expression.
Solution: Place the ball on the ground close to the dog. Call the dog to "FOOSE". Dog comes into position, looks at me = reward (she gets to access the ball). Do a couple times add a bit of duration, rinse and repeat.
Now the dog starts looking away from me because the ball which is lying on the ground is a big motivator.
Correction = the dog looks back and is immidiately rewarded.
Now we add some movement dog wants badly to look at the ball but everytime she does = correction. Now she associates positive punishment with not only her position but looking away as well.
Dog has a lot of motivation for the ball just lying on the ground, we can also increase motivation by tossing the ball and calling the dog to "Foose" while the ball is creating heavy distraction through its movement.
Now since this is similar to how I trained the "pet heel" and I did not install an auto sit we have begun losing the auto sit in the IPO heel. So having to fix that too.
Overall the clear delineation between the punishment and reward was achieved by simply placing the ball on the ground and creating two options.
Look at the handler and you get the ball.
Look at the ball and you get a correction.
We are making up for some lost time now with our IPO heeling and exression has not suffered as the motivation for the ball is very high. I can also now carry the ball and punish for a lookaway and recieve better focus so the ball does not have to be on the ground all the time anymore.
We have someother things we are working on but this specific issue has been annoying me for a while.
Bastian the Beast
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